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SONIS Data Governance

Project Sinai

Project Description

Data Governance isn’t about reporting definitions or even altering the way anyone works – it’s about making sure that data gets recorded in the right fields the right way and reducing the number of data errors we encounter.  Good data is essential to the continued growth of any organization.  Without it, we can’t tell where we’re doing well and where we need help.

Project Details

Date FY19
Estimated 320 work hours 

  • Discover root cause
  • Normalize data fields
  • Automated Monitoring
  • Review Cycle

Estimated 120 work hours

In order to discover what our data issues are, we need to go to the Gemba.  Gemba is a Japanese word that means “the actual place”. We will need to go to the places where data is used – places like Financial Aid, the Registrar, and the Business Office – and find out what their pain points are.  We will need to go to places where data is input – places like admissions, recruiting, and academics – and see how they’re inputting the data.

We need to become experts on where the data comes from and what the business does with it.

Estimated 60 work hours

Normalizing data is all about blaming the process, not the people.  Based on the information gathered in our Gemba Walk, we will go through the forms and fields and set rules in the system that control the type of data that can be entered into them.  If a field is asking for an email, we set it for that field to make sure that what is entered into it contains the @ symbol and a period.  If it’s asking for a name, we can make sure the field won’t accept numbers or special characters.

Estimated 120 work hours

Once we have determined WHAT the data should be and we’ve normalize HOW the data is entered, we need to set up a system that alerts us of issues or abnormalities in the data that is stored, so that they can be corrected.  We’ll have to define the perimeters of good data and then set up SQL queries to look for them.  Depending on the number of data issues we identify through our Gemba Walks, there could be dozens or even hundreds of queries that need set up.

Automatic monitoring ensures that we create a permanent solution.  Once we’ve identified and fixed a data issue, we don’t want to have to go back and fix it again.

Estimated 20 Work Hours

We will establish a review schedule as part of Continuous Service Improvement.  It’s an iterative approach.  We will never be done improving.  Every six months we will review the data from our monitoring and repeat our Gemba Walks to identify new data issues that have come up.

Data Governance isn’t something that you can set up and then walk away and ignore.  It requires regular maintenance to make sure that data issues don’t occur again.  We rely on this data for internal reporting, as well as reporting to accreditation agencies and the department of education.

Establishing a review cycle makes Data Governance part of our IT culture.